Background

Hormonal and sleep changes during pregnancy increase the risk for sleep disturbances, frequent night awakenings, and poor sleep hygiene. However, there are few interventions focusing on sleep enhancement techniques to improve sleep hygiene. The purpose of this study was to examine if an individually-tailored, adaptive behavioral intervention designed to manage gestational weight gain for pregnant women with overweight/obesity (PW-OW/OB) influenced the frequency of night awakenings throughout pregnancy.

Methods

PW-OW/OB (N=31; 52% obese) were randomized to the intervention, Healthy Mom Zone, which included education on weight gain, nutrition, physical activity and good sleep hygiene (e.g., reducing TV time at night, exercising regularly, and using “pregnancy” pillows for support) or a standard of care control group. Wrist-worn activity monitors (Jawbone) were used to assess frequency of night awakenings at ~9 and 36 weeks gestation. Women with complete monitor data were included in this analysis: intervention (n=11) and control (n=12). Subgroup analyses examined weight status x study group interactions: OW-intervention (n=8), OW-control (n=5). Univariate ANOVAs were used to examine study group differences in the frequency of night awakenings.

Results

There were no change in night awakenings by study group or interaction with weight status. Among women with obesity, night awakenings tended to decrease for the intervention group by -0.26 (Mpre= 1.85, Mpost= 1.58), but increased in the control group by 0.89 (Mpre= 1.13, Mpost= 2.03; p=.12).

Conclusions

Although number of night awakenings did not change for either the intervention or control group, the observed difference in awakenings between the groups suggests the intervention sleep content may have had some impact on night awakenings. However, further evaluation of the content is needed to understand how to generate a more potent impact on the frequency of night awakenings.